Panhel offers ‘relaxation rooms’ for students to decompress during recruitment

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

Students participating in recruitment will have access to coloring books, food, headphones and stress balls in two “relaxation rooms” on the ground floor of the Marvin Center during the four nights of recruitment.

The Panhellenic Association is helping potential new members and sorority members de-stress during recruitment this weekend.

Students participating in recruitment will have access to coloring books, food, headphones and stress balls in two “relaxation rooms” on the ground floor of the Marvin Center during the four nights of recruitment. Student leaders said the resources will help alleviate anxiety during the lengthy and “stressful” experience which begins Friday and runs through Wednesday.

“Recruitment, while an incredibly rewarding experience, can be intimidating and taxing,” Izzy Griffith, the president of the Panhellenic Association, said. “Providing the PNMs with a chance to take a rest and decompress will help the PNMs feel less intimidated and provide them with a chance to recharge throughout the process.”

Griffith said the rooms will be equipped with water, snacks and other “calming” resources to give potential new members a “mental and physical break from recruitment, should they need it.”

“This will enable them to not only enjoy the process more but have better experiences in the parties, which we hope will help them find their homes,” she said in an email.

Griffith said the Panhellenic Association will gather feedback about the new resource through a survey sent to all potential new members after recruitment ends. She said the organization will also reach out to chapters’ recruitment counselors to solicit feedback.

Through the four nights of recruitment, potential new members attend a series of timed “parties,” where they can meet and talk with sisters in each of the association’s 11 sororities.

Ashley Ann Renz, the Panhellenic Association’s vice president of recruitment, said the resources are part of a mental health initiative she started when she stepped into her role last year to ensure students “feel safe, comfortable and empowered” throughout the recruitment process. She said the Panhellenic Association has also worked with the Colonial Health Center to develop a mental health training for recruitment counselors to help students talk through their stresses during the process.

“We have an amazing group of passionate women who are dedicated to maximizing the PNM recruitment experience, and I am confident that these trainings, combined with the hard work of our counselors, will greatly benefit PNMs,” Renz said in an email.

Former Panhellenic Association President Elizabeth Jessup, whose term ended in December but will act as president during recruitment, said the organization has tried new strategies to make recruitment less stressful over the past three years.

Jessup said that while she served as the Panhellenic Association’s vice president of recruitment last academic year, she worked with CHC employees to show recruitment counselors how to speak with students who are overwhelmed during the process. Renz has continued to provide similar training this year, she said.

“The Panhellenic Executive Board is incredibly committed to creating a more inclusive community, and prioritizing the mental health of our members and PNMs is an essential step in that direction,” Jessup said in an email.

She added that because Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls in the middle of recruitment, the day off will allow students to “prioritize their mental, physical and emotional health by giving them time to take care of themselves.”

“For some PNMs, that might mean that they catch up on sleep, others might use the time to do homework or spend time with their friends, and we hope that it will also allow PNMs to observe MLK Jr. Day through service, reflection or community events,” she said.

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